Sunday, 17 September 2017

Chaos in St. Louis for the second night after white ex-cop who shot dead black suspect is acquitted; protesters storm the Mayor's house, burn a US flag

= Protesters in St. Louis, Missouri blocked roads on Staurday night on a second day of demonstrations after the acquittal of a former white police officer who was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a black suspect in 2011.
The protests started on Friday and continued on Saturday night. Last night's demonstration started as Friday's did, with an estimated 1,000 angry people marching peacefully in streets near downtown and
later things heated up as they continued into the night.
On Friday night, protesters surrounded the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, broke two windows, and threw red paint at the residence before some 200 riot police arrived and dispersed the crowd. Ten police officers were injured in the process and 13 demonstrators were arrested, police said. It was not known if Krewson, a Democrat, was home at the time of the protest. At one point, protesters were able to walk up to the front door of the house and knock on it. They then gathered on the lawn and began shouting toward the home before police forced them back.

Moments earlier, demonstrators were also seen burning American flags as they were marching through the mayor's neighborhood. It was reported that as protesters marched toward the mayor's home, they began to pull down American flags that were lining the streets.
Saturday's demonstration saw a pocket of protesters throw bricks, rocks and projectiles with paint at police as officers tried to disperse the crowds. The confrontation took place late Saturday night in the Delmar Loop area of University City, a suburb about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of St. Louis near Washington University. Nine people were arrested Saturday night during the protests, two police departments in the area said. Video footage showed at least eight people in police custody after protesters shattered the windows of numerous businesses on Saturday night.

Some protesters vented about the court's decision to acquit Jason Stockley, who as an officer in 2011 shot and killed a black motorist, 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. Demonstrators also called for some city leaders to step down. A female protester said she was sad all day and had tried to distract herself. That march ended with organizers calling for people to leave and reconvene Sunday afternoon.
The protests began after Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson announced Friday that white former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith, a black suspect.
Stockley, a West Point grad and Iraq war veteran, could have been sentenced to up to life in prison without parole had he been convicted. He shot Smith five times after a high-speed chase, after he and his partner witnessed what they believed to be a drug deal behind a fried chicken restaurant on December 20, 2011. Stockley says he saw Smith holding a gun before the chase began, and that he felt he was in imminent danger when he opened fire. Prosecutors alleged that Stockley planted a gun in Smith's car after he shot him. The gun found in Smith's car had the officer's DNA on it, but not Smith's.
Earlier on Friday, St. Louis police said they no longer consider the protest, which began at a downtown intersection, peaceful.

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